In the past, a Carson-Galena baseball game in April would draw nominal attention because it used to be a non-league game.
There is nothing nominal about this three-game Sierra League series, which starts today (3:30 p.m.) at Galena and concludes with a Saturday night doubleheader (5 p.m.) at Carson High.
That's because of the man who is running the Galena High baseball program. For those out of the loop or new to the area, that man is the legendary Ron McNutt, who coached and taught at Carson for more than 30 years, and for whom the Carson High baseball field is named.
McNutt, in his first year at Galena, has the young Grizzlies fighting for a playoff spot along with Carson, Bishop Manogue, Douglas and Damonte Ranch.
McNutt admits there will be feelings for him and former CHS grad and major league pitcher Donovan Osborne, who is McNutt's pitching coach, this week.
"I've talked to my kids about Carson a little bit," McNutt said. "Thirty-four years at the school, you can't take that away. There are always going to be feelings about Carson. I told the kids that some of the things that happened there happened long before they were born and to approach it that way. Coming back to Carson won't be about the kids."
Will it feel strange to come to your old ballpark and not be in the third base dugout?
"I might go and sit in the third-base dugout," McNutt said, chuckling at the thought. "I don't know (what the reaction will be). I haven't thought about that. It's not up to me to judge."
Cody Farnworth, Carson's first-year head coach, changed the game to the evening in hopes of drawing more people.
"I think there will be a lot of people here," Farnworth said. Farnworth indicated that not many of his players know McNutt, and that his return is "not a big deal to them."
Farnworth, who played for and coached with McNutt, is glad to see his old coach back in the game because of what he's meant to baseball in Northern Nevada, both as a CHS coach and running the successful Carson Capitols summer team which attracted current Major League players Dustin Pedroia and J.P. Howell, both from the Sacramento area.
And, McNutt said he plans on staying at Galena as long as he has the support of the school and his health holds up.
Both coaches want to concentrate on baseball this weekend, and for good reason.
Carson leads the Sierra League with a 7-2 record, a game ahead of Manogue and arch-rival Douglas, both of whom are 6-3. Galena is in fourth at 8-4.
"I know they are tough," Farnworth said of Galena. 'I think they took two of three from Damonte. They are going to swing it, I know that. They play aggressive baseball.
"We want to keep our objective, which is to either sweep the series or win two out of three. We've been able to do that so far."
Carson swept Tahoe and took two of three from Manogue and Damonte Ranch.
Carson, fresh off winning the Atwater title, sends ace Matt Rutledge to the hill. Rutledge has won all three of his league starts.
Rutledge will face a potent Galena offense led by Eric Howsley, Matt Page and Luke Hess, all of whom are hitting more than .400. Brian Pointer has 10 homers thus far, six in league play.
"We have a very young team," McNutt said. "They have come a long way. I'm excited about what's taking place."
Carson will probably face Victor Walker. The Senators have plenty of firepower of their own with Brett Valley, Kyle Stone, Paul Cagle III, Cody Barr, Dustin Buttner, Rutledge and Tommy Preston.